Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Walter Savage Landor:

19) Dry Sticks, Fagoted.

Edinburgh 1858

This penultimate miscellany of political epigrams and poems that Landor had brought forth is dedicated to Lajos Kossuth, the regent-president of Hungary in exile. The title is ambiguous. As an image of a bundle of pieces that burn and give heat, it works as a metaphor of the collection of poems itself. But the terms also refer to the Roman fasces lictoriae, the symbol of republican power and authority, which later became notorious as the eponym of the Fascist movement. The collection includes some poems referring to the Mazzini – Letters scandal, in whose detection Linton had been involved, and also Landor’s hymn to Linton as the anonymous author of the Plaint of Freedom (stick No. 241): “Praiser of Milton! worthy of his praise! / How shall I name thee? Art thou yet unnamed? / While verses flourish hanging overhead / In looser tendrils than stern husbandry / May well approve, on thee shall none descend? /  At Milton’s hallowed name thy hymn august / Sounds as the largest bell from minster-tower. / I ponder; and in time may dare to praise. /  Milton had done it; Milton would have graspt / Thy hand amid his darkness, and with more /  Impatient pertinacity because / He heard the voice and could not see the face.”